Virginia vs. Oklahoma Betting Guide: Sooners Need Havoc Against Cavaliers in NCAA Tournament
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Virginia guard De’Andre Hunter, Oklahoma guard Christian James
#1 Virginia vs. #9 Oklahoma: NCAA Tournament Betting Odds
- Spread: Virginia -11
- Over/Under: 126.5
- Date: Sunday, March 24
- Time: 7:45 p.m. ET
- TV: truTV
- Location: Columbia, S.C.
>> All odds as of Saturday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.
The jitters were expected for Virginia (23-10 against the spread) after getting upset by 16-seed UMBC in 2018. But Gardner-Webb came ready to shoot the long ball and maximize its possessions, and the Cavaliers had their backs pinned to the wall early with a hostile crowd.
Virginia rallied after halftime and came close to covering the closing number (-22.5).
Meanwhile, Oklahoma jumped out to a 12-0 lead on Ole Miss in the first round and never looked back. The 95-72 final score highlights the havoc the Sooners unleashed with a steal ratio of 10-to-1. Ole Miss committed 24 fouls, resulting in a 26-to-4 discrepancy in free-throw attempts.
Will the Havoc Continue for the Sooners?
Ole Miss players were harassed for more than two hours against the Sooners, as Oklahoma snagged eight steals in the first half. The Rebels had 11 total turnovers, which begs the question of whether this was an aberration: The Sooners defense was 243rd in turnover percentage, ranking 190th in steals, this season. They hadn’t reached double-digit steals since a Jan. 26 game against Vanderbilt.
Virginia is one of the premier teams in the country at ball protection.
The Cavaliers offense ranks 14th in turnover percentage. While the No. 1 seed is not known for creating havoc itself, ranking 119th in steals, Oklahoma will have a tough route in creating turnovers.
Virginia Overcame a 16-Seed, Smooth Sailing Ahead?
There was nothing in the advanced stats that said Gardner-Webb would upset Virginia over a 40-minute game. After trailing by six at the half, the Cavs more than doubled the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ score in the second.
With the UMBC nightmare behind the program, Virginia sets its sights on an Oklahoma team playing with house money.
The Sooners like to force their opponents to shoot the deep ball, with an opponent 3-point distribution rank of 29th in the country. That’s great news for a Virginia team that’s fourth in 3-point percentage. Oklahoma ranks outside the top 100 in defending the 3, but rank top 25 in opponent 2-point percentage.
This isn’t a good matchup for Oklahoma, which isn’t equipped to handle a Virginia team that’s top-20 in ball protection and top-five in 3-point percentage.
Another area of focus will be rebounding, where the Oklahoma offense is 247th compared to 63rd for the Virginia defense. Don’t expect the Sooners to press, as they rank 326th in defensive average possession length. That will play into the Cavs, who are one of the slowest teams in the nation.
Oklahoma’s style of play could feed right into what Virginia does best, and that should be good enough for a cover from the top seed in the region.
THE PICK: Virginia -11 or better
Our Projected Odds: Virginia vs. Oklahoma
Get point spreads for this game and every possible tournament matchup with our bracket simulator built by Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, a former oddsmaker and FantasyPros’ most accurate in-season fantasy football ranker from 2015-2017.
- Spread: Virginia -12
- Over/Under: 126.5
- Score: Virginia 69.5 | Oklahoma 57.5
- Win Probability: Virginia 88.2% | Oklahoma 11.8%
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game is from the individual writer and are based on his research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.